Chronology, July 2007-June 2008 Month by Month

20 Jul Pakistan’s Supreme Court rules that Pres. Pervez Musharraf’s suspension of Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry as chief justice was illegal and reinstates Chaudhry, dismissing all charges against him.


► A US court of appeals rules that the government must make available to the court and to lawyers its information on detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, who are challenging decisions by military tribunals that they continue to be held, saying that meaningful review of the tribunals requires that information.

21 Jul Legislators in India choose Pratibha Patil as India’s next president; she is the first woman named to the largely ceremonial position.

► New Zealand wins the rugby union Tri-Nations trophy, defeating Australia 26-12 in the final.

22 Jul Padraig Harrington wins the British Open golf tournament at the Carnoustie Golf Club in Carnoustie, Scotland, defeating Sergio Garcfa of Spain in a four-hole play-off and becoming the first Irishman to win the tournament since 1947.

23 Jul Flooding of the Thames River in central England after a month of heavy rains causes widespread destruction and hardship; the area is experiencing its worst flooding in 60 years.

24 Jul After visits to Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi by Cecilia Sarkozy, wife of French Pres. Nicolas Sarkozy, the five Bulgarian nurses and one Palestinian doctor who have been in a Libyan prison for the past eight years on charges of having injected hundreds of children with HIV are freed and flown to Bulgaria.

► In the US the minimum hourly wage is increased for the first time since September 1997, from US$5.15 to US$5.85; an additional raise is scheduled to take place each of the next two summers.

25 Jul After Iraq’s association football (soccer) team defeats South Korea in a penalty shoot-out to win a semifinal match in the Asian Cup competition, jubilant Iraqis take to the streets in cities throughout the country in celebration; car bombs that explode among the revelers in Baghdad leave 50 dead.

26 Jul In Iraq, a car bomb in Baghdad sets a building on fire and kills at least 25 people, a car bomb kills at least 6 people in Kirkuk, and a suicide bomber near Mosul kills 7 people.

► Delegates from Iraq, Syria, Egypt, the Arab League, and the UN meeting in Amman, Jordan, to find ways to deal with the influx of some two million Iraqi refugees in the Middle East fail to arrive at solutions.

27 Jul Hundreds of Islamic extremists try to reoccupy the Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) in Islamabad, Pakistan, when the government reopens it for prayers, and a suicide bomber kills at least 13 people; the government regains control of the mosque and closes it indefinitely.

28 Jul In Gstaad, Switzerland, the US women’s team of Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh wins the beach volleyball world championship for the third consecutive year; the following day the US men’s team of Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser also takes gold.

29 Jul Iraq defeats Saudi Arabia 1-0 to win the Asian Cup in association football (soccer) for the first time in tournament history.

► Spanish cyclist Alberto Contador wins the Tour de France, completing the race only 23 seconds faster than Cadel Evans of Australia.

30 Jul Legendary filmmakers Ingmar Bergman of Sweden and Michelangelo Antonioni of Italy both die.

31 Jul The Bancroft family, owners of Dow Jones & Co., which publishes The Wall Street Journal, agrees to sell the company to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. for US$5 billion.

August 2007

1 Aug The American toy maker Mattel recalls 967,000 Chinese-manufactured toys that contain lead-based paint.

► Analysis shows that in July for the first time, sales of cars in the US made by foreign manufacturers overtook sales of cars from American automakers.

► An eight-lane bridge over the Mississippi River between Minneapolis and St. Paul in Minnesota collapses during the evening rush hour, dropping dozens of vehicles into the river and leaving 13 people dead.

2 Aug Russian explorers in minisubmarines plant a titanium Russian flag on the seafloor beneath the North Pole to underscore Russia’s claim to the Arctic region.

► James H. Billington, the American librarian of Congress, names Charles Simic the country’s 15th poet laureate, succeeding Donald Hall.

3 Aug The mortgage lender American Home Mortgage Investment goes out of business, citing difficulties in the secondary-mortgage market as well as the housing market.

4 Aug NASA launches the Phoenix Mars Lander; it is expected to land on 25 May 2008 in the north polar region of Mars, where it will collect and analyze soil samples.

► Ron Pierce, driving the trotter Donato Hanover, wins the Hambletonian harness race in New Jersey.

► The Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton OH inducts tight end Charlie Sanders, wide receiver Michael Irvin, running back Thurman Thomas, offensive lineman Bruce Matthews, cornerback Roger Wehrli, and guard Gene Hickerson.

5 Aug US Pres. George W. Bush signs into law legislation that increases the government’s authority to eavesdrop on electronic communications between Americans and people in other countries.

► Mexican golfer Lorena Ochoa wins the women’s British Open golf tournament, the first women’s professional golf tournament to be played at the St. Andrews Old Course in Scotland.

6 Aug Pres. Jose Ramos-Horta of East Timor names former president Xanana Gusmao prime minister.

► Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel meets with Palestinian Authority Pres. Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Jericho; it is the first time since 2000 that an Israeli prime minister has been in Palestinian territory.

7 Aug Gela Bezhuashvili, the foreign minister of Georgia, contends that the previous day Russia fired a missile at the Georgian town of Tsitelubani; Russia denies the accusation.

► Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants hits his 756th home run to take over the Major League Baseball record of most career home runs from Hank Aaron, who had held the record since 1974.

8 Aug The baiji, or Yangtze River dolphin, is officially declared extinct in a report by a scientific expedition that engaged in an intensive and fruitless six-week search for the animal, which is considered the first cetacean species extinguished by human activity.

9 Aug The government of South Africa confirms that it has fired Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, the deputy health minister, who had been internationally praised for her work to combat the AIDS pandemic in the country; she had clashed with the health minister, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, who recommended the use of garlic and vitamins against the disease.

10 Aug Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announces that the country will build two new military bases in Nunavut in order to protect its claims to the Northwest Passage.


► The UN Security Council passes a resolution increasing the scope of its mission in Iraq to promote reconciliation and consensus and to assist in border disputes.

11 Aug The governor of Al-Qadisiyah province in Iraq, together with the police chief and three bodyguards, is killed by a roadside bomb; the area is known to be a battleground between Shilte factions.

► The center span of the fourth bridge (the first three were built in 1591, 1854, and 1934) across the Grand Canal in Venice is put in place; the new bridge, designed by Santiago Calatrava, is scheduled to open in December.

12 Aug A team of Danish scientists begins an expedition to the Arctic region in an effort to map the underwater Lomonosov Ridge, seeking evidence that it is attached to Greenland, which could give Denmark sovereignty over the North Pole, together with possibly lucrative mineral and shipping rights.

► Tiger Woods defeats Woody Austin by two strokes to win the Professional Golfers’ Association of America championship at the Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa OK.

13 Aug Karl Rove, the closest aide of US Pres. George W. Bush, announces his resignation as deputy chief of staff.

14 Aug In the Iraqi villages of Qahtaniya and Jazeera, located in the Kurdish-speaking region near Syria, four truck bombs kill at least 500 people; most people in the area are members of the Yazidi religious sect.

15 Aug An earthquake measuring magnitude 8.0 strikes off the coast of southern Peru, destroying the city of Pisco; at least 540 people are killed and some 200,000 are made homeless.

16 Aug Jose Padilla, who was arrested as an enemy combatant in 2002 and then transferred to the civilian criminal court system in 2006, is found guilty by a US federal jury on charges of conspiracy to commit terrorism.

17 Aug Scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center report that the amount of sea ice in the Arctic has reached the lowest point ever measured, at 5.26 million sq km (2.02 million sq mi), and that melting is reportedly occurring more quickly than predicted by computer models.

18 Aug A referendum takes place in Maldives on the framework of a new constitution; voters choose a strong presidential system over a parliamentary one.

► Israel implements a controversial new rule to immediately deport all migrants who cross the border from Egypt into Israel, returning some 50 Africans, many of whom are believed to be refugees from the Darfur region of The Sudan, to Egypt.

19 Aug A referendum is held in Thailand on a new constitution that weakens the power of the executive and shifts power to the military; as expected, the document is approved.

► Hurricane Dean roars through the Caribbean, leaving a trail of destruction in Saint Lucia, Martinique, Dominica, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Jamaica; at least eight people die in the region.

20 Aug The governor of Iraq’s Al-Muthanna province is killed by a roadside bomb; he was a member of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, a Shi’ite political party that had clashed with the Mahdi Army, a Shi’ite militia loyal to the cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

► Michael Vick, quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, agrees to plead guilty to felony charges related to dogfighting; on 24 August he is suspended indefinitely by the National Football League.

21 Aug A US federal judge rules that the government has violated the federal law that mandates periodic studies by Washington on the impact of global warming; an assessment was due in 2004 and a research plan in 2006, and the judge requires a summary report by March 2008.

► In objection to the large military presence on campus that has been in place since January, students at the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh, engage in a second day of rioting, and violence spreads to other universities in the country.

22 Aug A US military Black Hawk helicopter crashes in northern Iraq, killing all 14 soldiers aboard; mechanical failure is blamed for the crash.

23 Aug Inmates take over a prison in Ponte Nova, Brazil, and 25 members of one gang are locked up and then burned to death.

► Pakistan’s Supreme Court rules that Nawaz Sharif, whom Pres. Pervez Musharraf deposed as prime minister in 1999, has the legal right to return to the country and run for office.

24 Aug A bomb explodes outside a police barracks during the night in Durango, Spain; police believe it to be the work of the Basque separatist organization ETA.

25 Aug Two bombs, one at a laser show at an open-air auditorium and one at a popular restaurant, kill at least 42 people in Hyderabad, India.

► A national state of emergency is declared in Greece as the death toll from relentless wildfires rises to at least 46.

26 Aug The government of Iraq announces that an agreement has been reached to allow former members of the Ba’th Party to hold government posts; Ba’thists were banned from the government in 2003.

► With a walk-off solo home run by Dalton Carriker, the Warner Robins American team from Warner Robins GA defeats the Tokyo Kitasuna team from Japan 3-2 to win baseball’s 61st Little League World Series.

► Official ceremonies are held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, to celebrate the fabled city’s 2,750th anniversary.

27 Aug US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announces his resignation.

28 Aug Armed violence breaks out during a religious festival in Karbala, Iraq, between the Badr Organization and the Mahdi Army, both Shilte militias; at least 50 people are killed.

► On the third ballot, Turkey’s legislature elects the controversial Abdullah Gul president.

29 Aug In Iraq the Shilte cleric Muqtada al-Sadr announces, to the surprise of observers, that the Mahdi Army’s operations will be suspended for six months.

► China’s official news source says that sandstorms are reducing to piles of dirt more than 59.5 km (37 mi) of the Great Wall in Gansu province.

30 Aug The International Atomic Energy Agency releases a report saying that Iran has been cooperative and forthcoming and that, though Tehran continues to expand its nuclear program, it is doing so at a much slower rate than had been expected.

► Italian police carry out a raid in San Luca, arresting 32 people in an effort to stop a feud between rival families in the ‘Ndrangheta crime organization.

31 Aug Zimbabwe imposes a six-month freeze on increases in wages, rents, and fees in an attempt to stop runaway inflation; price controls have so far resulted in a burgeoning black market.

September 2007

1 Sep Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho announces his intention to resign after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge after he was accused of having solicited an undercover police officer for sex in a men’s restroom in an airport; he later rescinds the resignation.

► In college football the lower-division Appalachian State Mountaineers of Boone NC defeat the number-five-ranked University of Michigan Wolverines 34-32 in what is believed to be one of the sport’s biggest upsets.

2 Sep The Lebanese armed forces storm and seize control of the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp after a standoff that started in May with Fatah al-Islam militants who had taken over the camp.

► China declares its intention to release information about its burgeoning military budget and to resume submitting data to the UN on its trade in conventional weapons; it had stopped sending such information in 1996.

3 Sep Khaleda Zia, a former prime minister of Bangladesh, is arrested on charges of corruption in Dhaka a few weeks after the arrest of another former prime minister, Sheikh Hasina Wazed.

► The ceremonial ground breaking of the project to expand the Panama Canal takes place at Paradise Hill; the project, which is expected to more than double the canal’s capacity, is scheduled for completion in 2014.

► Aviator and adventurer Steve Fossett disappears in western Nevada after taking off in a single-engine plane; he was said to be looking for areas to practice driving his jet-powered race car.

4 Sep Two coordinated suicide bombings kill at least 25 people in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

► Opposing factions of the recently bifurcated National Liberation Force engage in fierce fighting in Bujumbura, Burundi; at least 26 people are killed.

5 Sep The government of Germany announces that it has arrested three people who were in advanced stages of planning a major terrorist attack in Germany against American and German targets.

6 Sep Israel conducts air strikes against a target in Syria for the first time since 2003.

► A US federal judge rules unconstitutional a section of the USA PATRIOT Act that permits the government to demand customer records from communications companies and forbid the companies to reveal the existence of the demands.

► The online edition of the journal Science publishes research suggesting that a virus may be a major cause of the colony collapse disorder that has been afflicting honeybees in the US; about a quarter of American beekeepers have reported mass die-offs in their hives.

7 Sep Police in Portugal name Kate and Gerry Mc-Cann suspects in the May disappearance of their four-year-old daughter, Madeleine, from the British family’s vacation rental in Praia da Luz; the highly publicized search for the child has engrossed the public in both Great Britain and Portugal.

8 Sep After holding presidential and legislative elections for the first time since 1996, Sierra Leone holds a runoff presidential election; the winner is opposition leader Ernest Bai Koroma.

► A van packed with explosives detonates in Dellys, Algeria, killing 34 coast guard officers.

► Justine Henin of Belgium defeats Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia to win the women’s US Open tennis championship; the following day Roger Fed-erer of Switzerland defeats Novak Djokovic of Serbia to win the men’s title for the fourth straight year.

9 Sep At the IAAF Grand Prix in Rieti, Italy, Asafa Powell of Jamaica sets a new 100-m record of 9.74 seconds.

► With his win over Scott Dixon of New Zealand in the Indy 300 race in Joliet IL, Scottish driver Dario Franchitti wins the overall IndyCar championship.

10 Sep Bombs set along four natural-gas pipelines and one oil pipeline in Mexico go off, creating major service disruptions; it is the third attack in three months against pipelines of the state oil company Pemex.

► A UN report is released saying that the number of suicide bombings in Afghanistan in the first eight months of 2007 increased by 69% over the same period in 2006.

11 Sep Pius Ncube resigns as Roman Catholic archbishop of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, after having been accused of adultery; Ncube was an outspoken critic of Pres. Robert Mugabe.

12 Sep Mikhail Fradkov resigns as Russia’s prime minister, and Pres. Vladimir Putin surprises observers by naming little-known Viktor A. Zubkov as Fradkov’s replacement.

► A magnitude-8.4 earthquake with its epicenter undersea near Bengkulu on the Indonesian island of Sumatra leaves at least 10 people dead; a second earthquake, with a magnitude of 7.8, strikes early the next morning about 320 km (200 mi) northwest of the first, and a third major earthquake occurs later that day.

13 Sep Off Hammerfest, Norway, the first liquefied-natural-gas plant in Europe begins production at the Sn0hvit oil field.

► UNICEF releases figures showing that worldwide mortality for children under the age of five has dropped to 9.7 million; it is the first time since records began in 1960 that the figure has dropped below 10 million.

14 Sep The European Space Agency reports that satellite images have revealed that for the first time in recorded history, the Northwest Passage briefly became open to navigation because of the record low amount of Arctic sea ice.

15 Sep The 2007 Albert Lasker Medical Research Awards are presented; winners are Ralph Steinman for his discovery of dendritic cells and their important role in the immune system, Alain Carpentier and Albert Starr for their development of prosthetic mitral and aortic heart valves, and Anthony Fauci for his role as architect of US AIDS and biodefense programs.

16 Sep The Emmy Awards are presented in Los Angeles; winners include the television shows 30 Rock and The Sopranos and the actors Ricky Ger-vais, James Spader, America Ferrera, Sally Field, Jeremy Piven, Terry O’Quinn, Jaime Pressly, and Katherine Heigl.

► Tiger Woods wins the inaugural professional golf FedExCup by an astonishing eight strokes in the final game of the play-off series in Atlanta.

► The Phoenix Mercury defeats the Detroit Shock 108-92 to win its first Women’s National Basketball Association championship.

17 Sep The government of Iraq announces that it has banned the American private security contractor Blackwater USA (now Blackwater Worldwide) from operating in the country the day after an incident in which Blackwater guards killed 17 Iraqi civilians.

18 Sep The giant retailer Wal-Mart announces plans to greatly improve the employee health care plan, mollifying many who had been critical of the company’s parsimonious benefits.

19 Sep Israel declares the Gaza Strip a “hostile entity.”

20 Sep The UN International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea rules that the maritime boundary between Guyana and Suriname should be equidistant from the two countries, giving Guyana the lion’s share of the coastal waters, including an area where significant oil and gas exploration had been halted pending the tribunal’s decision.

► Buddhist monks pray at the Shwedagon Pagoda, the holiest shrine in the country, and hundreds of them march through the streets of Yangon (Rangoon), Myanmar (Burma), for the third day in a row in protest against the country’s military government.


► Some 10,000 protesters march in Jena LA to protest unduly harsh measures taken against six black local high-school students for a racial incident that took place in 2006.

► Floyd Landis is stripped of his title as winner of the 2006 Tour de France cycling race, and the Union Cycliste Internationale declares Oscar Pereiro, the second-place finisher, the official winner.

21 Sep Chile’s Supreme Court agrees to the extradition of former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori to Peru, where he is wanted on charges of human rights abuses and corruption.

22 Sep A delegation from Syria is received by a high-ranking government official in Pyongyang, North Korea.

23 Sep Yasuo Fukuda is elected to the presidency of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party in Japan; he is installed as prime minister of Japan on 26 September.

► The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta declares an end to its four-month cease-fire in Nigeria, saying that it will resume attacks on oil installations.

24 Sep After having failed to reach a labor agreement, 73,000 members of the United Auto Workers union go on strike against General Motors; it is the first strike against the manufacturer since 1970.

25 Sep A boycott by Hezbollah legislators prevents the Lebanese National Assembly from reaching a quorum, forcing it to postpone its selection of a new president.

26 Sep The management of the carmaker General Motors and the United Auto Workers union reach a tentative agreement on a contract that will shift the costs of health care for retirees to the union, ending a two-day strike.

27 Sep The military government of Myanmar (Burma) concludes two days of brutal suppression aimed at putting an end to antigovernment demonstrations; several people have been killed, among them a Japanese press photographer.

28 Sep Pakistan’s Supreme Court dismisses two cases that challenge the constitutionality of Pres. Pervez Musharraf’s candidacy for reelection as president while he is still head of the armed forces.

► Dominique Strauss-Kahn of France is named managing director of the IMF; he replaces Rodrigo de Rato of Spain.

29 Sep A rebel group invades a camp of African Union peacekeeping troops in the Darfur region of

The Sudan, killing 10 of the peacekeepers; it is believed that the rebels may have kidnapped others.

► In the Australian Football League Grand Final in Melbourne, the Geelong Cats defeat the Port Adelaide Power 24.19 (163) to 6.8 (44), a record-breaking margin of victory in the event.

30 Sep Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia wins the Berlin Marathon with a time of 2 hr 4 min 26 sec, a new world record for marathons, while his countrywoman Gete Wami is the fastest woman, with a time of 2 hr 23 min 17 sec; it is the second year in a row that the two have won the race.

October 2007

1 Oct Syria closes its borders to refugees from Iraq and imposes stringent new visa rules on Iraqis already in Syria.

► The Dow Jones Industrial Average closes at an all-time high of 14,087.55 points, while the Nasdaq composite index closes at 2740.99, its highest point since February 2001.

2 Oct South Korean Pres. Roh Moo Hyun steps across the border with North Korea for a summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il; he is the first South Korean president to walk into North Korea.

3 Oct It is announced in Beijing that North Korea has agreed to disable all its nuclear facilities in return for 950,000 metric tons of fuel oilor other economic aid.

4 Oct The 50th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s launch of Sputnik, the first man-made satellite, is observed; the launch kicked off the space race and led to the formation of NASA in the US.

5 Oct A US air strike on the Shilte town of Gizani al-Imam, Iraq, kills at least 25 Iraqis; the US military describes the dead as insurgents, while residents of the town say they were civilians.

► One of the largest makers of frozen beef patties in the US, Topps Meat Co., announces that it is going out of business in the wake of the recall of more than 9.8 million kg (21.7 million lb) of frozen beef products because of possible E. colicontamination.

► American track star Marion Jones pleads guilty to having lied to federal agents when she denied having used performance-enhancing steroids; three days latershe relinquishes the three gold and two bronze medals she won at the Olympic Games in 2000.

6 Oct In Iraq rival Shilte leaders Muqtada al-Sadr and “Abd al-Aziz al-Hakim forge a peace agreement.

7 Oct In Pakistan’s North Waziristan region, Pakistani security forces attack militant bases, leaving at least 20 militants and 6 soldiers dead, while elsewhere in the region militants attack a military convoy, and 10 soldiers and 18 militants are killed in the ensuing battle.

► The Chicago Marathon is run on a day of unseasonable heat and humidity, causing hundreds to become ill and helping contribute to the death of one runner; the organizers cancel the run, but not before Patrick Ivuti of Kenya has won it by 0.05 sec with a time of 2 hr 11 min 11 sec and Berhane Adere of Ethiopia has crossed the finish line as the women’s victor with a time of 2 hr 33 min 49 sec.

8 Oct British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announces his intention to withdraw half of the British troops in Iraq by the spring of 2008, citing progress in the training of Iraqi security forces and improvements in the situation in Basra, where British forces are based.

► The Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine is awarded to Americans Mario Capecchi and Oliver Smithies and Briton Martin Evans for their development of gene-targeting technology, in which particular genes in mice were silenced in order to learn the function of the gene.

9 Oct In Stockholm the Nobel Prize for Physics is awarded to Albert Fert of France and Peter Grun-berg of Germany for their discovery of giant magnetoresistance, which was instrumental in the development of modern computer hard drives.

10 Oct The Nobel Prize for Chemistry is awarded to Gerhard Ertl of Germany for his work elucidating chemical reactions that occur when gas molecules meet with solid surfaces.

11 Oct The Nobel Prize for Literature is awarded to British writer Doris Lessing.

► The 10th annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor is presented to comic Billy Crystal in a ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC.

12 Oct The state media in China report that concerns over environmental damage, including the danger of landslides, in the area around the Three Gorges Dam have led to plans to relocate as many as four million people.

► The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to American politician and environmentalist Al Gore and to the UN-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

13 Oct King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand is hospitalized and diagnosed with cerebral ischemia.

14 Oct In Palm Desert CA, Lorena Ochoa of Mexico outscores Mi Hyun Kim of South Korea to secure the title of Ladies Professional Golf Association Player of the Year.

15 Oct Ukrainian Pres. Viktor Yushchenko’s political party, Our Ukraine, reaches a coalition agreement with the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc, which would enable Tymoshenko to take office as prime minister.

► The Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences goes to Americans Leonid Hurwicz, Roger B. Myer-son, and Eric S. Maskin for their development of and work using mechanism design theory, which explains interactions between individuals, markets, and institutions.

16 Oct A summit meeting of the five countries that border the Caspian Sea—Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan—takes place in Tehran; they agree not to allow military strikes launched from any member country against any other member country.

► Libya, Vietnam, Burkina Faso, Costa Rica, and Croatia are chosen to replace the Republic of the Congo, Qatar, Ghana, Peru, and Slovakia as non-permanent members of the UN Security Council.

► The Man Booker Prize for Fiction goes to Irish writer Anne Enright for her novel The Gathering.

17 Oct Despite strong objections from China, the Dalai Lama of Tibet is awarded a US Congressional Gold Medal in Washington DC.

► The Journal of the American Medical Association publishes a study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicating that in 2005 some 19,000 people in the US died after infection with invasive methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria, a much higher rate of infection than had been expected; most transmission was associated with hospitals and nursing homes.

18 Oct Former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto returns to Pakistan after eight years in exile, greeted by joyous crowds, but two bombs go off near the procession carrying her through Karachi, killing at least 140 people.

19 Oct Residents of Bolivia’s wealthy Santa Cruz province retake control of Viru Viru International Airport, the country’s busiest airport, a day after federal troops seized the airport from workers who were said to be demanding that landing fees and other payments be made to local officials rather than to the national airport authority.

20 Oct South Africa defeats England 15-6 in Paris to win the rugby union World Cup.

21 Oct Voters in Turkey approve several changes to the constitution, including one that would make the presidential term five years instead of seven and another that would require the popular rather than legislative election of the president.

► Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen wins the Brazilian Grand Prix and with it the Formula 1 automobile racing drivers’ championship.

22 Oct As massive wildfires driven by Santa Ana winds burn throughout southern California for a second day, some 250,000 residents of San Diego county are told to evacuate.


► Joaquim Chissano, who was president of Mozambique in 1986-2005, wins the first Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership. 23 Oct The government of Somalia releases Idris Osman, the head of World Food Programme operations in Mogadishu, a week after he was seized in an attack on a UN compound.

24 Oct China launches the satellite Chang’e-1, which is expected to orbit the Moon for a year, returning images; it is China’s first lunar probe and follows one launched by Japan in September.

25 Oct US Pres. George W. Bush visits southern California to view the devastation from wildfires, which have destroyed 1,800 homes and 202,000 ha (500,000 ac); at least seven deaths have resulted as well.

26 Oct The price of oil briefly passes US$92 a barrel before closing at a new record high of US$91.86.

27 Oct The Breeders’ Cup Classic Thoroughbred horse race is won by Curlin in exceptionally sloppy conditions at Monmouth Park Racetrack in Ocean-port NJ.

28 Oct Thousands of peasants who have marched for the past 26 days from Gwalior, India, arrive in New Delhi seeking enforceable rights to their land (much of Indian farmland is in small plots, and increasing industrialization has displaced growing numbers of peasants from their land); the following day the government sets up a panel to address the problem.

► The Boston Red Sox defeat the Colorado Rockies 4-3 in Denver in the fourth game of the World Series to win the Major League Baseball World Series in a sweep.

29 Oct Egyptian Pres. Hosni Mubarak announces that the country will build several nuclear reactors, reinstating a program that was halted some 20 years earlier.

► Authorities in Chad say that nine French workers with the aid organization Zoe’s Ark will be charged with kidnapping and fraud after they were arrested in Abeche while trying to fly 103 children to Europe to be adopted.

30 Oct A major battle between Afghan and NATO forces and hundreds of Taliban fighters begins in the Arghandab district outside Kandahar, Afghanistan; Taliban forces had been ousted from the area in 2001, and this was their first reappearance.

31 Oct Russia invites only 70 of the usual 400 Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe election observers to monitor the legislative elections scheduled for 2 December.

November 2007

1 Nov UN officials report that most of the 103 children that French aid organization Zoe’s Ark was attempting to fly to Europe to be adopted were not orphans from The Sudan’s war-torn Darfur region as claimed but rather children from Chad who were living with their families.

► In Nagoya, Japan, Chunichi Dragons pitcher Daisuke Yamai throws eight perfect innings in his team’s 1-0 defeat of the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters in game five of the best-of-seven Japan Series, resulting in the first baseball championship for the Dragons since 1954.

2 Nov S.P. Tamilselvan, the political leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, is killed in an attack by Sri Lankan troops near Kilinochchi.

3 Nov Pakistani Pres. Pervez Musharraf declares a state of emergency, suspending the constitution and in effect imposing martial law; he fires Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and the rest of the Supreme Court.

4 Nov Martin Lel of Kenya wins the New York City Marathon with a time of 2 hr 9 min 4 sec, while Britain’s Paula Radcliffe is the fastest woman, with a time of 2 hr 23 min 9 sec.

5 Nov In a meeting in the White House with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, US Pres. George W. Bush promises American cooperation in intelligence in Turkey’s fight against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

► The Writers Guild of America, West, and the Writers Guild of America, East, go on strike against the movie and television industries, demanding a greater share of revenue from TV shows and movies distributed by DVD and online.

► US Pres. George W. Bush awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Americans Gary S. Becker, Francis S. Collins, Benjamin L. Hooks, Henry J. Hyde, Brian Lamb, and Harper Lee and to Oscar Elfas Biscet of Cuba and Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia.

6 Nov A suicide bomber attacks a delegation of legislators attending the opening of a sugar factory in Baghlan, Afghanistan; at least 72 people, including 6 legislators and 59 schoolchildren, are killed.

► Belgium passes its 149th day without a government following elections on 10 June; tension between leaders of the Flemish and the Walloon communities has caused the deadlock.

► British Queen Elizabeth II cuts the ribbon at the unveiling of the magnificently restored St. Pancras train station in London; beginning on November 14 the station will serve as the London terminus of the Eurostar, a high-speed train that connects London to continental Europe through the Channel Tunnel.

7 Nov After a day of violence between demonstrators and riot police in Tbilisi, Georgia, Pres. Mikheil Saakashvili declares a state of emergency.

► The US Consumer Product Safety Commission orders the recall of the Chinese-made toy Aqua Dots; the toy consists of plastic beads that when wetted stick together to form toys but when ingested release a poisonous chemical related to the date-rape drug GHB.

► The South Korean container ship Cosco Busan hits a stanchion of the Bay Bridge in San Francisco, causing an ecological disaster as it spills 220,000 liters (58,000 gal) of bunker oil in San Francisco Bay.

8 Nov The government of Brazil declares that huge new reserves, believed to contain five to eight billion barrels of recoverable light oil, have been found in the offshore Tupi oil field.

► At the Latin Grammy Awards in Las Vegas, Dominican singer and songwriter Juan Luis Guerra wins five awards, including album of the year for La llave de mi corazon and song of the year and record of the year for the album’s title cut.

9 Nov The UN World Food Programme reports that about half of the children living in Laos are chronically malnourished and that government policies are partially to blame.

10 Nov Stagehands in New York City go on strike, and 27 Broadway shows go dark.

11 Nov A storm in the Black Sea causes at least 11 ships to sink, with some loss of life, and one tanker breaks apart in the Kerch Strait, spilling at least 1,000 tons of fuel oil and thus creating an environmental catastrophe.

► The drama series Quarterlife, produced by Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick, makes its debut on MySpaceTV; it is the first television-style series to debut on the Internet.

12 Nov In South Korea the spokesmen for the former in-house lawyer for embattled electronics giant Samsung say that recipients of Samsung bribes included newly appointed prosecutor general Lim Chae Jin and top corruption investigators Lee Jong Baek and Lee Gui Nam.

13 Nov The 2007 Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize is awarded to performance artist Laurie Anderson.

14 Nov The US National Medal of Arts is awarded to Morten Lauridsen, N. Scott Momaday, Roy R. Neu-berger, Craig Noel, Les Paul, Henry Steinway, George Tooker, and Andrew Wyeth.

15 Nov Cyclone Sidr makes landfall on the southwestern coast of Bangladesh, devastating a large area and leaving at least 3,500 people dead.

► Major League Baseball player Barry Bonds, holder of the record for most career home runs, is indicted in San Francisco for perjury and obstruction of justice in an inquiry into the use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball.

16 Nov Georgian Pres. Mikheil Saakashvili lifts the state of emergency and appoints Lado Gurgenidze to replace Zurab Nogaideli as prime minister.

► Donald Tusk is sworn in as prime minister of Poland.

17 Nov The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change releases its final report of 2007; it indicates that urgent action is needed to avert global climate disaster, which is likely to occur sooner than was once thought.

18 Nov The US military releases figures showing that the weekly number of attacks in Iraq has fallen to its lowest level since January 2006.

► A new pipeline that will carry natural gas originating in Azerbaijan to Greece from Turkey, bypassing Russia, is ceremonially inaugurated by the prime ministers of Greece and Turkey.

► After the final NASCAR race of the season, Jimmie Johnson is crowned winner of the Nextel Cup championship for the second year in a row.

► The Houston Dynamo wins the Major League Soccer title with a 2-1 victory over the New England Revolution in the MLS Cup in Washington DC.

19 Nov In Pakistan, Pres. Pervez Musharraf’s now-handpicked Supreme Court dismisses the primary challenges to his reelection; the previous Supreme Court had been expected to rule in favor of the challenges.

20 Nov Online reports are published from two independent science teams, one in the US and one in Japan, both of which have developed a technique to reprogram human skin cells to make them behave like embryonic stem cells.

► The British government reveals that in October unencrypted computer disks containing detailed personal and financial information on 25 million people, 40% of the country’s population, were lost; a government tax agency sent the disks unregistered to the National Audit Office, but they never arrived.

21 Nov The warship Shenzhen sails from China for the first port visit by the Chinese navy to Japan since World War II; the destroyer is to take part in military ceremonies with the Japanese navy.

22 Nov After close to three months of negotiations, Pres. Alvaro Uribe of Colombia withdraws his support for the involvement of Venezuelan Pres. Hugo Chavez in negotiations with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) intended to lead to the release of dozens of hostages that FARC has held for several years.

23 Nov The cruise ship Explorer strikes an iceberg while traveling 96 km (60 mi) north of the Antarctic Peninsula and sinks; all 154 aboard are rescued, but the ship poses an ecological threat.

24 Nov In parliamentary elections in Australia, the ruling Liberal Party of Prime Minister John Howard loses to the Labor Party, whose leader, Kevin Rudd, becomes prime minister.

25 Nov The Saskatchewan Roughriders capture the 95th Canadian Football League Grey Cup, defeating the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 23-19.

26 Nov Youths and riot police engage in a second night of battles in Villiers-le-Bel, France, a suburb of Paris; the violence began after two teenagers on a motorbike were killed in a collision with a police car.

► Gillian Gibbons, a British teacher at a private school in The Sudan, is arrested and charged with having insulted Islam after it is learned that she permitted her students to give the name Muhammad to a teddy bear that was used in a school project.

27 Nov At a peace conference in Annapolis MD, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority Pres. Mahmoud Abbas agree to negotiate a peace treaty by the end of 2008.

28 Nov A settlement to the stagehand strike that has kept Broadway shows closed for 19 days is announced in New York City.

29 Nov Pakistani Pres. Pervez Musharraf, who resigned his post as army chief the day before, is sworn in to a second term of office.

30 Nov Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin suspends the country’s participation in the NATO Conventional Armed Forces in Europe treaty.


December 2007

1 Dec The Iraqi Accord Front, the largestSunni bloc in Iraq’s legislature, walks out to protest the detention of its leader, Adnan al-Dulaimi; in addition, al-Qaeda gunmen attack the village of Dwelah in Diyala province, killing 13 people.

2 Dec Voters go to the polls in Venezuela in a referendum on whether to accept 69 amendments to the constitution, some of which would increase the power of the president; in a major setback to Pres. Hugo Chavez, the amendments are defeated.

► The annual Kennedy Center Honors are presented in Washington DC to film director Martin Scorsese, comedian Steve Martin, and musicians Leon Fleisher, Brian Wilson, and Diana Ross.

3 Dec A new US National Intelligence Estimate is released that says that it is now believed that Iran stopped its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and has not restarted it, though the country is producing enough highly enriched uranium to be able to make a bomb in the next few years; this represents a dramatic reversal of a previous NIE assessment in 2005.

► Kevin Rudd is sworn in as prime minister of Australia; his first official act is to sign documents ratifying the Kyoto Protocol on climate change.

4 Dec Prime Minister Nikola Spiric of Bosnia and Herzegovina signs an accord with the enlargement commissioner of the EU in the first step toward the country’s joining the EU.

5 Dec A man armed with a gun opens fire at a shopping mall in Omaha NE and kills eight people before turning the gun on himself.

6 Dec In Washington DC, Director of Central Intelligence Michael V. Hayden informs employees that in 2005 the CIA destroyed videotapes of the interrogations of two al-Qaeda operatives.

7 Dec Off the west coast of South Korea, a barge carrying a construction crane comes loose from its tugboat in heavy seas and hits the anchored oil tanker Hebei Spirit, punching three holes in the tanker’s hull and causing a massive and disastrous oil spill.

► The Right Livelihood Awards are presented in Stockholm to Sri Lankan legal scholar Christopher Weeramantry, to Dekha Ibrahim Abdi of Kenya for her work in conflict resolution, to Percy and Louise Schmeiser of Canada for their work defending agricultural biodiversity, and to the Bangladeshi solar-energy company Grameen Shakti.

8 Dec University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow wins the Heisman Trophy for best college football player; he is the first sophomore to win the award.

9 Dec The Banco del Sur, a Latin American regional-development bank intended as an alternative to the World Bank, is inaugurated in a ceremony in Buenos Aires attended by the presidents of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay, and Venezuela.

10 Dec Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin endorses Dmitry Medvedev, a first deputy prime minister and the chairman of the oil monopoly Gazprom, to succeed him as president.

► The New York Philharmonic announces that it has accepted an invitation to play a concert in Pyongyang, North Korea, in February 2008; it will be the first major cultural visit from the US to North Korea.

11 Dec A car bomb goes off in front of a government building in Algiers, engulfing a bus carrying students to a university campus, and another car bomb explodes shortly thereafter at a UN building, destroying it; a minimum of 37 people are killed, at least 17 of them UN staff members.

► The United States Sentencing Commission votes unanimously to reduce the punishment for some crimes involving crack cocaine, which have been punished far more harshly than those related to powder cocaine, and to make the change retroactive; the change may affect some 19,500 prison inmates.

12 Dec UNESCO reports that Cyclone Sidr, which killed some 3,500 people in Bangladesh in November, also devastated the Sundarbans, a large mangrove forest on the Ganges delta that is a World Heritage site and a tiger preserve.

13 Dec Leaders of the member countries of the European Union sign the Lisbon Treaty, a new document delineating the governance of the organization; it includes a permanent president with a two-and-a-half-year term of office and provisions for decisions to be made by majority, rather than unanimous, vote; it must now be ratified by all 27 members.

► The long-awaited report on steroid abuse in professional baseball is released by its author, former senator George J. Mitchell; the report names 89 Major League Baseball players as having used illegal performance-enhancing substances.

14 Dec The World Bank reports that it has raised a record US$25.1 billion for its International Development Association; for the first time, the UK passed the US to become the organization’s biggest donor.

15 Dec Pakistani Pres. Pervez Musharraf lifts the state of emergency and restores the constitution but with amendments and decrees that leave his hand-picked Supreme Court in place.

► Steer roper Trevor Brazile of Texas wins his fifth all-around cowboy world championship at the 49th annual Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.

16 Dec British forces formally relinquish control of Basra province to Iraq’s government; it is the most important province to have been handed back to Iraq since the 2003 invasion.

► In a National Football League game against the St. Louis Rams, Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre sets a new all-time record as a 7-yd pass brings his career total to 61,405 passing yards; the previous record was Dan Marino’s 61,361 yd.

17 Dec Guy Verhofstadt agrees to stay in office as prime minister of an interim government in Belgium pending the formation of a permanent government, which the country has lacked since elections in June; the interim government is formed on 19 December.

18 Dec The legislature of Ukraine approves the nomination of Yuliya Tymoshenko as prime minister.

► The US Congress passes legislation mandating higher fuel-economy standards for cars and trucks for the first time in 22 years, the production of renewable fuels, and higher efficiency requirements for household appliances and government buildings.

19 Dec A conservative politician, Lee Myung-bak, wins election as president of South Korea in a landslide; voters think he will be able to improve the country’s economy.

20 Dec Thieves steal a painting by Pablo Picasso, Portrait of Suzanne Bloch (1904), and a painting by Brazilian artist Candido Portinari, The Coffee Worker (1939), from the Museum of Art in Sao Paulo; police believe the theft was ordered by a wealthy art collector.

21 Dec A bomb goes off in a mosque during Friday prayers and the celebration of “Id al-Adha in Sher-pao in northwestern Pakistan; at least 48 people are killed.

► The Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia join the European Union’s Schengen zone, the members of which do not require passports for travel within the zone.

22 Dec China’s new National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing, designed by French architect Paul Andreu, holds its first public concert; the building, a glass dome over a shallow lake, is entered via a passageway under the lake.

23 Dec Two 1,500-year-old terra-cotta statues of the Hindu god Vishnu disappear from the cargo area of the international airport in Dhaka, Bangladesh; the statues had been en route to the Guimet Museum in Paris for an exhibition.

24 Dec Near Aleg, Mauritania, four French tourists picnicking on the side of a road are shot and killed, and a fifth is injured; law enforcement comes to believe that the attack was connected to al-Qaeda.

25 Dec A suicide truck bomber rams his vehicle into a group of people waiting in line for cooking gas in Baiji, Iraq; at least 25 people are killed.

► At the San Francisco Zoo, a Siberian tiger escapes from its enclosure and attacks three people, killing one.

26 Dec The Serbian legislature overwhelmingly passes a resolution opposing independence for Kosovo and warning of international repercussions if the enclave should declare independence and other countries recognize it as independent.

27 Dec Former prime minister Benazir Bhutto is assassinated after leaving a political rally in Rawalpindi, Pakistan; moments later a suicide bomber detonates his weapon, killing at least 20 people in the crowd.

► Archaeologists report that an Aztec pyramid found in November in the Tlatelolco area of Mexico City may have been built as early as 1100, some 200 years before Aztec civilization in the area was thought to have begun.

28 Dec Nepal’s legislature overwhelmingly votes to abolish the monarchy.

29 Dec Government officials in China announce that the first election in which Hong Kong voters may directly elect their leader will not take place until at least 2017; previously it had been thought that the elections in 2012 might be held democratically.

30 Dec In spite of evidence of fraud in the vote counts, Kenya’s election commission declares that Mwai Kibaki has narrowly won reelection as president of Kenya, and he is immediately sworn in; the country erupts in violence.


31 Dec The first legislative elections in Bhutan’s history take place as voters choose members of the National Council, the legislature’s future upper house.

January 2008

1 Jan A church in the village of Kiambaa, Kenya, where hundreds of Kikuyu people are taking refuge from the violence that broke out after the disputed election of 27 Dec 2007, is attacked by a mob and set on fire; some 50 people are burned to death.

► The euro replaces the Cypriot pound as Cyprus’s currency and the Maltese lira as Malta’s currency as the euro zone expands.

2 Jan The government of Sri Lanka formally annuls a cease-fire with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam that had been agreed to six years earlier; for practical purposes the agreement had not been observed since early 2006.

► The price of a barrel of light sweet crude oil for the first time reaches US$100 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

3 Jan James H. Billington, the US librarian of Congress, announces the appointment of Jon Scieszka, author of The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales and The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, to the newly created position of ambassador for young people’s literature.

4 Jan The movie studio Warner Brothers announces that in the future it will release its movies on Sony’s Blu-ray discs rather than Toshiba’s HD DVDs; industry insiders feel that this has decided which high-definition format will become the industry standard.

► The 30th annual Dakar Rally is canceled; organizers say that the French government had warned that terrorist organizations had made threats to disrupt the race.

5 Jan Presidential elections called by Pres. Mikheil Saakashvili after a brief state of emergency in November 2007 are held in Georgia; Saakashvili wins narrowly.

6 Jan The Arab League approves a plan for a new government in Lebanon, which has been without a president since November 2007.

7 Jan Louisiana State University defeats Ohio State University 38-24 in college football’s Bowl Championship Series title game in New Orleans to win the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) championship.

8 Jan Pres. Mwai Kibaki of Kenya announces his choices for half of the cabinet, and violence breaks out anew in several cities; some 500 people have been killed since violence erupted following the disputed election in 2007.

► Philippe de Montebello, who has been director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City for 30 years, announces his intention to retire at the end of the year.

9 Jan The legislature of the UN-administered Serbian province of Kosovo chooses the former leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army, Hashim Thaci, to be prime minister.

► The World Health Organization publishes a study that estimates the number of Iraqi civilians killed in the war from its inception in March 2003 until June 2006 at about 151,000.

10 Jan Members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) release to emissaries of Venezuelan Pres. Hugo Chavez two Colombian women: Consuelo Gonzalez de Perdomo, a member of the legislature, and Clara Rojas, an aide to presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt (herself still a captive).

11 Jan The Bank of America announces its planned purchase of troubled mortgage company Countrywide Financial Corp.

12 Jan Iraq’s legislature passes a law to allow former Ba’thist officials to apply for positions in the government.

► Legislative elections in Taiwan are won by the Nationalist Party, which takes 81 of the 113 seats; Pres. Chen Shui-bian resigns as head of the Democratic Progressive Party.

13 Jan Jackie Selebi resigns as president of Interpol the day after he was put on leave as head of South Africa’s police because of a corruption investigation.

14 Jan The spacecraft MESSENGER passes within 200 km (124 mi) of Mercury’s surface, taking photographs and measurements of the planet, which was last visited by NASA’s Mariner 10 in 1975.

► In the field of children’s literature, the Newbery Medal is awarded to Laura Amy Schlitz for Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village, a series of monologues and dialogues set in the Middle Ages, and Brian Selznick wins the Calde-cott Medal for illustration for his novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret.

15 Jan At the Macworld Expo trade show in San Francisco, Apple CEO Steven P. Jobs introduces the ultralight MacBook Air laptop computer and the ability to rent movies by downloading them through iTunes.

16 Jan The Proceedings of the Royal Society B reports the discovery in Uruguay of fossil evidence of a rodent, named Josephoartigasia monesi, that was some 3 m (10 ft) long and weighed up to 1,100 kg (2,200 lb).

17 Jan Geoscientists report that a natural-gas black-shale reservoir in the northern Appalachians could hold as much as 15 trillion cu m (516 trillion cu ft) of gas; it would be a huge addition to US reserves.

18 Jan On the first day of the religious festival of ‘Ashura, fighting between a millennial militia, the Soldiers of Heaven, and Iraqi government forces in several places in southern Iraq leaves at least 66 dead.

► Israel closes all border crossings between itself and the Gaza Strip, blocking, among other things, aid shipments, saying the step is intended to discourage rocket attacks from Gaza on Israel.

19 Jan Spain announces the arrest in Barcelona of 14 people of Pakistani and Indian origin who are believed to have been planning a terrorist attack on the city.

20 Jan It is reported that David D. Hiller,has removed James E. O’Shea as editor for refusing to make requested job cuts in the newsroom.

21 Jan Sudanese Pres. Omar al-Bashir defends his recent appointment of Musa Hilal as a senior government adviser; Hilal is generally believed to be a leader of the Janjawid militia forces.

► At Thoroughbred horse racing’s 2007 Eclipse Awards, Curlin is named Horse of the Year.

22 Jan After an emergency meeting the US Federal Reserve lowers its benchmark lending rate three-quarters of a percentage point, to 3.5%, the largest single-day reduction it has ever made; stocks initially plummet but rally robustly.

► Iraq’s legislature adopts a new flag, the same as the previous one except that the three stars that represent Ba’thist ideals have been removed.

23 Jan At the divided town of Rafah, members of Hamas break down a portion of the wall closing off Egypt from the Gaza Strip, and thousands of Palestinians pour across the border to purchase supplies.

► Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis of Greece begins a three-day visit to Turkey; it is the first official visit to Turkey by a Greek prime minister since May 1959.

24 Jan The French banking giant Societe Generale announces that a midlevel employee for the past year was a rogue trader and caused the bank to lose €4.9 billion (US$7.2 billion).

► Researchers at the J. Craig Venter Institute report that they have synthesized the genome of a small bacterium (Mycoplasma genitalium) by assembling about 100 DNA fragments in a major step toward creating a complete artificial organism.

25 Jan A dusk-to-dawn curfew is imposed in Nakuru, Kenya, in an attempt to contain ethnic violence that has broken out, contributing to a death toll of more than 650 people throughout the country since the disputed election.

26 Jan Russian Mariya Sharapova defeats Ana Ivanovic of Serbia to win her first Australian Open women’s tennis championship; the following day Novak Djokovic of Serbia defeats Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to win his first men’s title.

► Top film awards at the annual Sundance Film Festival in Park City UT go to Frozen River, Trouble the Water, The Wackness, and Fields of Fuel.

27 Jan Indonesia’s former president Suharto dies; a week of official mourning is declared.

28 Jan US Pres. George W. Bush delivers his final state of the union address; he asks the American people for patience on the Iraq War, discusses economic worries, and presents a modest domestic agenda.


► The ruling party in Turkey reaches an agreement on an amendment to the constitution that will allow women who wear head scarves for religious reasons to attend university; the measure must be approved by the legislature.

29 Jan King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand ratifies the legislature’s selection of Samak Sundaravej as the country’s new prime minister.

30 Jan The Us Federal Reserve Board cuts its benchmark interest rate a further half of a percentage point, to 3%.

31 Jan David Kimutai Too, an opposition lawmaker, is shot to death by a policeman in Eldoret, Kenya; though government officials say the killing was not politically motivated, violence throughout the country intensifies in response to the murder.

► The World Health Organization reports that programs in which mosquito nets and artemisinin, a new antimalarial medicine, were widely distributed in several African countries generally cut the number of deaths from malaria in half.

February 2008

1 Feb The American oil company Exxon Mobil Corp. reports that it earned US$40.6 billion last year, a new record for the highest profit ever recorded.

► Government officials in Japan say that at least 175 people have become ill after eating dumplings imported from China that were tainted with insecticide.

2 Feb Rebel troops attempting to overthrow Pres. Idriss Deby enter N’Djamena, the capital of Chad, and surround the presidential palace as Chad’s armed forces resist.

3 Feb In Glendale AZ the New York Giants defeat the New England Patriots 17-14 to win the National Football League’s Super Bowl XLII; the Patriots had an undefeated record going into the game.

4 Feb The US$250,000 A.M. Turing Award for excellence in computer science is granted to Edmund M. Clarke, E. Allen Emerson, and Joseph Sifakis for their development of an automated method to discover errors in the design of computer hardware and software.

► NASA transmits the Beatles song “Across the Universe” toward Polaris, the North Star, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the agency and of its first satellite, Explorer I.

5 Feb The death toll from violence in Kenya since the presidential election in December 2007 passes 1,000 people as officials from the ruling and opposition parties begin negotiations on how to end the crisis.

6 Feb The vice president of Pakistan’s Awami National Party is assassinated in Karachi, and rioting erupts.

7 Feb The Licey Tigers defeat the defending champions, the Cibao Eagles, 8-2 in the final game of the round-robin tournament in Santiago, Dominican Republic, to win baseball’s Caribbean Series with a tournament record of 5-1; for the first time in the history of the event, both teams are from the host country.

8 Feb Dean Barrow is sworn in as the first black prime minister of Belize the day after his United Democratic Party won 81% of seats in a legislative election.

9 Feb A tentative agreement between the Writers Guild of America and movie and television production companies is reached, which indicates an end to the writers’ strike that began in November 2007 and has stopped production of 63 TV shows; the strike formally ends on 12 February.

10 Feb At the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, the top winner is British vocalist Amy Winehouse, who wins five awards, including both record of the year and song of the year for “Rehab” and the award for best new artist; the surprise choice for album of the year is River: The Joni Letters by jazz artist Herbie Hancock.

► In Ghana, Egypt defeats Cameroon 1-0 to win the African Cup of Nations in association football (soccer) for a record sixth time.

11 Feb Pres. Jose Ramos-Horta of East Timor is critically injured in an apparent assassination attempt; the country’s prime minister, Xanana Gusmao, is also attacked, but he escapes injury.

► The drug company Baxter International announces its suspension of production of heparin, a blood thinner, because some 350 people have reacted badly to it, in some cases fatally.

12 Feb A report from a census of tigers in India is released; it finds that the number of tigers since the last census, in 2002, has fallen from 3,642 to only 1,411.

► K-Run’s Park Me in First wins Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club’s 132nd dog show; the popular beagle, known as Uno, is the first of its breed to win the top award at the premier American dog show.

13 Feb Iraq’s legislature passes a package bill that includes a 2008 budget, an outline for defining provincial powers, and an amnesty for thousands of detainees; the amnesty is one of the benchmarks that the US government has expected from Iraq.


► For the first time in the country’s history, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd formally apologizes to Australia’s Aborigines for the government’s past mistreatment of them.

14 Feb A gunman enters a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University and begins shooting from the stage; he kills 5 students and wounds 16 others before killing himself.

► Kiribati declares a marine protected area that, at 425,300 sq km (164,200 sq mi), is the largest in the world; it preserves a rare oceanic coral archipelago ecosystem.

15 Feb Scottish cyclist Mark Beaumont breaks the world record for riding a bicycle around the world when he crosses the finish line in Paris 195 days after he began the 29,000-km (18,000-mi) journey.

16 Feb The Brazilian film Tropa de elite (The Elite Squad), directed by Jose Padilha, wins the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival.

17 Feb The UN-administered Serbian province of Kosovo unilaterally declares its independence; the following day the US, France, Germany, and Turkey, among others, recognize its sovereignty, but Russia, China, and Spain are among those that refuse recognition.

► In Daytona Beach FL, Ryan Newman wins the 50th running of the Daytona 500, the premier NASCAR race, by 0.092 second in an upset victory.

18 Feb Legislative elections in Pakistan result in a pronounced victory for the Pakistan People’s Party (once led by Benazir Bhutto), with 120 seats, and the Pakistan Muslim League-N of Nawaz Sharif, with 90; Pres. Pervez Musharraf’s party wins only 51 seats.

► The BBC transmits its final English-language shortwave radio broadcast in Europe; the service began 75 years earlier with an inaugural transmission by King George V.

19 Feb Fidel Castro announces his official retirement, saying he does not want another term as president of Cuba.

► Toshiba announces that it will phase out the production of HD DVD players and other products, leaving Sony’s Blu-ray the sole new optical media format.

20 Feb A US missile interceptor successfully strikes a falling spy satellite, destroying its fuel tank as planned.

21 Feb Thousands of demonstrators angry about Kosovo’s declaration of independence attack and set fire to the US embassy in Belgrade, Serbia.

► Brazil’s central bank reveals that in January Brazil for the first time became a net creditor country.

22 Feb In Iraq the Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr extends the cease-fire being observed by his Mahdi Army militia a further six months.

23 Feb The Ugandan government reaches a formal cease-fire agreement with the rebel group the Lord’s Resistance Army.

24 Feb At the 80th Academy Awards presentation, hosted by Jon Stewart, Oscars are won by, among others, No Country for Old Men (best picture) and its directors, Joel and Ethan Coen, and actors Daniel Day-Lewis, Marion Cotillard, Javier Bardem, and Tilda Swinton.

25 Feb Flemish and Walloon leaders in Belgium agree on a series of reforms, including giving more powers to the regions, that should make it possible for a new government to be formed after close to nine months of disagreement.

► Lee Myungbak is sworn in as president of South Korea.

26 Feb The Svalbard Global Seed Vault in the Norwegian Arctic is ceremonially opened with its first consignment of seeds; the depository is intended to safeguard samples of all known food crop seeds against any human or natural disaster.

► The New York Philharmonic plays a concert in Pyongyang, North Korea.

► A panel of judges in Nigeria upholds the election of Umaru Yar’Adua as president in a challenge brought after the April 2007 election.

27 Feb Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawa-tra returns to Thailand after 17 months in exile; he is wanted on charges of corruption.

28 Feb Kenyan Pres. Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga reach an agreement on a power-sharing government in which Kibaki remains president, Odinga becomes a powerful prime minister, and cabinet appointments are split between the parties.

► The Pew Center on the States releases a report showing that for the first time more than 1% of American adults are behind bars, with close to 2.3 million adults incarcerated at the beginning of 2008.

29 Feb Turkey ends its eight-day incursion into northern Iraq, withdrawing its troops to the Turkish side of the border.

► The government of India passes a budget that includes a provision to cancel all the debt owed by the country’s small farmers.

March 2008

1 Mar Colombian armed forces attack a Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) camp in Ecuador, killing 24 people, including the organization’s second-in-command, Raul Reyes.

2 Mar At a gathering of tribal elders who convened in Darra Adamkhel, Pakistan, to discuss forming a force to fight local militants, a bomb kills 42 people and injures 58.

► As expected, Dimitry Medvedev is elected president of Russia.

3 Mar The price of oil reaches US$103.95 a barrel, breaking the record set in August 1980 when that price, US$39.50, is adjusted for inflation.

► Ecuador breaks off diplomatic relations with Colombia in response to the raid Colombia made against FARC guerrillas in Ecuador.

4 Mar Ian Paisley announces that he will retire in May as first minister of Northern Ireland’s power-sharing government and as head of the Democratic Unionist Party.

5 Mar The US Food and Drug Administration reports that heparin associated with bad reactions, including 19 deaths, was produced with ingredients made in China and contained a contaminant that effectively mimicked the active ingredient in genuine heparin.

6 Mar Two bombs explode in sequence in a shopping district in Baghdad; at least 68 people are killed.

► The US Federal Reserve Board reports that in the second quarter of 2007, for the first time since the board began tracking data in 1945, the percentage of equity Americans own in their homes fell below 50%.

► In New York City the winners of the National Book Critics Circle Awards are announced as Junot Dfaz for The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (fiction), Harriet Washington for Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present (non-fiction), Tim Jeal for Stanley: The Impossible Life of Africa’s Greatest Explorer (biography), Edwidge Danticat for Brother, I’m Dying (autobiography), Mary Jo Bang for Elegy (poetry), and Alex Ross for The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century (criticism); Emilie Buchwald is granted the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award.

7 Mar At a summit meeting in the Dominican Republic, the leaders of Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela reach an agreement to end the spreading diplomatic crisis that was initiated by Colombia’s military strike on the FARC encampment in Ecuador’s territory.

8 Mar Pres. Boris Tadic of Serbia announces plans to call an early election as a result of dissension over Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia.

9 Mar In London, Hairspray wins four Laurence Olivier Awards—best new musical, best actor in a musical (Michael Ball), best actress in a musical (Leanne Jones), and best supporting performance in a musical (Tracie Bennett).

10 Mar Indian authorities block hundreds of Tibetan protesters near Dharmshala at the beginning of a six-month march to Tibet to protest China’s hosting of the Olympic Games.

► In a ceremony in New York City, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, located in Cleveland, inducts musicians Leonard Cohen, Madonna, John Mellencamp, and Little Walter, the groups the Dave Clark Five and the Ventures, and the producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff.

11 Mar China announces a planned reorganization of its government that will create ministries to oversee environmental protection, social services, housing and construction, and industry and information.

► Two bombs in Lahore, Pakistan, the first at a Federal Investigation Agency office, kill at least 24 people.

12 Mar Michael Heller, a Polish cosmologist and philosopher, is named the winner of the Templeton Prize for Progress Toward Research or Discoveries About Spiritual Realities.

► Kate Christensen wins the PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction for her novel The Great Man.

► Lance Mackey wins the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race for the second consecutive year, crossing the Burled Arch in Nome AK after a journey of 9 days 11 hours 46 minutes 48 seconds.

13 Mar For the first time, Cuba allows ordinary citizens to purchase appliances and electronic devices such as computers and DVD players.

► It is reported that hundreds of monks in Tibet have been protesting China’s rule over the province for the past few days.

14 Mar Violence breaks out in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, between residents and Chinese security forces.

► A tornado roars through downtown Atlanta, injuring dozens and causing major damage to city landmarks.

15 Mar A munitions depot near Tirana, Albania, blows up, and the series of explosions as well as a strong shock wave leave 26 people dead and hundreds injured.

► A 19-story construction crane topples to the ground in New York City, destroying a town house and damaging several other buildings; six construction workers and a tourist are killed.

► With its 29-12 defeat of France, Wales wins the Six Nations Rugby Union championship, having achieved a won-lost record of 5-0.

16 Mar The bank JPMorgan Chase & Co. announces that with US$30 billion in funding from the Federal Reserve, it will buy the collapsing Wall Street investment bank Bear Stearns for only US$2 a share.

► The wreck of HMAS Sydney, which disappeared 66 years earlier, is found off Western Australia, where it sank with 645 aboard on 19 Nov 1941 after being torpedoed by the German raider Kormoran; the search vessel Geosounder finds the wreckage some 112 nautical miles from Denham.

17 Mar The World Glacier Monitoring Service releases a report charting changes in glaciers through 2006; it shows that the pace of melting appears to be accelerating.

► In Mitrovica, in northern Kosovo, Serbs attempting to force a partition of the northern part of Kosovo (which is populated heavily with ethnic Serbs) from the rest of Kosovo attack UN peacekeeping forces.

18 Mar Kenya’s National Assembly approves a power-sharing plan intended to end the crisis set in motion by the presidential election.

► German Chancellor Angela Merkel addresses the Israeli Knesset (legislature); she is the first German chancellor to do so in Israel’s 60-year history.

19 Mar US Pres. George W. Bush marks the fifth anniversary of the start of the Iraq War with a speech saying that going to war was the right thing to do and insisting that the war continue until the attainment of victory.

20 Mar Yves Leterme of the Flemish Christian Democratic Party is sworn in as prime minister of a coalition government in Belgium nine months after elections.

► A report is published in the journal Science saying that a study of a fossil thigh bone of the six-million-year-old protohuman species Orrorin tugensis found that the species was able to walk upright and that it may be more closely related to Australopithecus than to Homo; this is now the earliest-known example of bipedalism.

21 Mar The Republic of Cyprus’s newly elected president, Demetris Christofias, meets with Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat; they agree to resume talks aimed at reuniting the Greek and Turkish sides of the country.

22 Mar Ma Ying-jeou of the Nationalist Party is elected president of Taiwan; Ma campaigned on a platform of seeking closer economic ties with China.

► Asif Ali Zardari, head of the victorious Pakistan People’s Party, names Yousaf Raza Gillani to become Pakistan’s prime minister.

23 Mar A roadside bomb in Baghdad kills four US soldiers, bringing the number of American troops killed in the Iraq War to 4,000; at least 58 Iraqis are also killed in violence throughout the country.

24 Mar Voters in Bhutan choose the members of the National Assembly, the lower house of the country’s new legislature, transforming the country into country’s participation in the NATO Conventional Armed Forces in Europe treaty.


► Pakistan’s newly named prime minister orders the release of the judges placed under house arrest in late 2007 by Pres. Pervez Musharraf.

► The Olympic torch is ceremonially lit in Olympia, Greece, though the ceremony is briefly interrupted by pro-Tibet protesters; until 8 August the torch is to travel around the world before arriving in Beijing for the Olympic Games.

25 Mar Military forces of the African Union and Comoros seize control of the autonomous island of Anjouan from Mohamed Bacar, who took power in a coup in 2001.

► Scientists report that a 415-sq-km (160-sq-mi) chunk of ice has fallen from the Wilkins ice shelf in western Antarctica; it is believed that the collapse can be attributed to global warming.

26 Mar Scientists report that the Cassini spacecraft has found that geysers on the Saturnian moon Enceladus contain molecules of water, methane, carbon dioxide, and carbon monoxide, all organic molecules.

► The sale of the Jaguar and Land Rover car brands from the Ford Motor Co. to the Indian car company Tata Motors, part of the Tata Group, is announced.

27 Mar Gov. Anfbal Acevedo Vila of Puerto Rico is indicted on federal charges involving campaign finance violations.

► The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters awards its annual Abel Prize for outstanding work in mathematics to American mathematician John Griggs Thompson and French mathematician Jacques Tits for their contributions to group theory.

28 Mar North Korea conducts test launches of short-range missiles off its western coast and threatens to slow down the disabling of its nuclear facilities.

29 Mar Presidential elections are held in Zimbabwe, and international observers are barred.

► Curlin, 2007 Horse of the Year, wins the Dubai World Cup, the world’s richest horse race.

► Oxford defeats Cambridge in the 154th University Boat Race; Cambridge still leads the series, however, by 79-74.

30 Mar Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr calls for his followers in Basra to cease fighting in return for concessions from the Iraqi government.

31 Mar The French liquor company Pernod Ricard announces its purchase of Vin & Sprit, the parent company of Absolut vodka.

► Prolific French architect Jean Nouvel is named winner of the 2008 Pritzker Architecture Prize; among his works are the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis MN, the Quai Branly Museum in Paris, and the Agbar Tower in Barcelona.

April 2008

1 Apr Intense fighting takes place between Chad’s armed forces and rebel militias in the eastern part of the country.

► British Defense Minister Desmond Browne announces that a planned drawdown of troops in southern Iraq will be postponed until the security situation in Basra can be stabilized.

2 Apr Official returns from the 29 March legislative elections in Zimbabwe are released, showing that the opposition Movement for Democratic Change won 109 seats and the ruling ZANU-PF took 97; though the MDC releases figures showing that Morgan Tsvangirai won the presidential election, no official results are given.

► Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern announces that he will resign his post on 6 May.

3 Apr At a NATO summit meeting in Bucharest, Romania, leaders agree to endorse a proposed US missile defense system based in Europe and to increase the number of troops in Afghanistan but decline to offer the first step toward eventual membership to Georgia and Ukraine; in addition, Albania and Croatia are invited to full membership, but, on Greece’s veto, Macedonia is not.

► Tony Hoagland is named the second winner of the US$50,000 Jackson Poetry Prize.

4 Apr Authorities in Texas raid the Yearning for Zion Ranch of the polygamous sect the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Eldorado and take 52 girls into protective custody; eventually more than 400 children are removed from the compound.

5 Apr In response to calls for a runoff presidential election in Zimbabwe, opposition presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai says that no such election is needed and petitions the High Court in an attempt to force a release of the official tally for the presidential vote.

6 Apr At the Olympic torch relay in London, pro-Tibet protesters attempting to seize or extinguish the torch to express their opposition to Chinese human rights abuses are engaged in a series of scuffles with police and prevented from achieving their goal.

7 Apr In New York City the winners of the 2008 Pulitzer Prizes are announced: six journalism awards go to the Washington Post, which wins for public service, breaking news reporting, national reporting, international reporting, feature writing, and commentary; winners in letters include Junot Dfaz in fiction and Tracy Letts in drama.

► The National Collegiate Athletic Association championship in men’s basketball is won by the University of Kansas, which defeats the University of Memphis 75-68; the following day the University of Tennessee defeats Stanford University 64-48 to win the women’s NCAA title for the second consecutive year.

8 Apr The Orange Democratic Movement, headed by Raila Odinga, suspends peace talks with Pres. Mwai Kibaki of Kenya, insisting on the dismissal of the standing cabinet before negotiations can continue; rioting erupts in Nairobi and Kisumu.

► The petroleum companies BP and ConocoPhillips agree to build a pipeline to carry natural gas from Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay into Canada and possibly as far as Chicago.

9 Apr Violence in reaction to an assault on a former cabinet minister breaks out in Karachi, with Pakistani Pres. Pervez Musharraf’s followers battling supporters of the new government; at least seven people are killed.

► Kosovo’s legislature adopts a constitution that makes the country a parliamentary democracy with a strong president; it will go into effect on 15 June.

10 Apr Voters in Nepal go to the polls to elect the Constituent Assembly that will write the country’s new constitution; the Maoist party wins the largest number of seats.

11 Apr A new decree allows workers in Cuba who rent housing from their state employers to keep their homes after leaving their jobs, to gain title to their homes, and to pass their homes on to their children or other relatives.

12 Apr At the joint IMF-World Bank spring meeting in Washington DC, the World Bank president, Robert Zoellick, describes the skyrocketing price of food and its impact on poorer countries; there have been food riots in cities throughout the world.

► In Harbin, China, the US defeats Canada 4-3 to win the International Ice Hockey Federation world women’s championship.

13 Apr The parties of Pres. Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga agree on the composition of a new and much larger cabinet in Kenya.

► On a rainy day Martin Lel of Kenya wins the London Marathon for the second year in a row, with a time of 2 hr 5 min 15 sec, and Irina Mikitenko of Germany, in her first marathon, is the fastest woman in the race, with a time of 2 hr 24 min 14 sec.

14 Apr In two days of legislative elections in Italy, the largest percentage of votes goes to Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Liberty alliance.

► For the first time since 1965, passenger train service between Kolkata (Calcutta), India, and Dhaka, Bangladesh, takes place, with one train departing from each city.

15 Apr The Prado Museum in Madrid opens the exhibition “Goya in Times of War,” showcasing more than 200 paintings, drawings, and prints from the last 25 years of the career of artist Francisco de Goya; the show marks the 200th anniversary of the Spanish War of Independence.

16 Apr Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin orders that a number of Russian ministries establish direct relations with their counterparts in the de-facto governments of the separatist Georgian provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

► Government figures show that the rate of inflation in Zimbabwe reached 165,000% in February, up from 100,000% in January.

17 Apr Raila Odinga is sworn in as prime minister of Kenya; an agreement made in February gives him power that is equal to that of the president.


18 Apr In Durban, South Africa, dockworkers refuse to unload a Chinese shipment of weapons that are intended to be delivered to Zimbabwe, and South

Africa’s High Court issues an order prohibiting the transport of the weapons across South Africa to Zimbabwe.

19 Apr Election officials in Zimbabwe begin a partial recount of the ballots from the general election at the request of the government; opposition leaders’ legal challenge to stop the recount was unsuccessful.

► A Russian Soyuz space capsule carrying back from the space station former International Space Station commander Peggy A. Whitson of the US, Russian flight engineer Yury I. Malenchenko, and South Korea’s first astronaut, Yi So-yeon, lands about 418 km (260 mi) off its mark in Kazakhstan.

20 Apr With his election to the presidency of Paraguay, former Roman Catholic bishop Fernando Lugo ends the rule of the Colorado Party, which had held power since 1946.

► American race-car driver Danica Patrick wins the Indy Japan 300 race, coming in six seconds ahead of Brazilian Helio Castroneves and becoming the first woman to win an IndyCar race.

21 Apr The 112th Boston Marathon is won for the third consecutive year by Robert K. Cheruiyot of Kenya, with a time of 2 hr 7 min 46 sec; the fastest woman is Dire Tune of Ethiopia, who crosses the finish line 2 seconds ahead of Alevtina Biktimirova of Russia and posts a time of 2 hr 25 min 25 sec.

22 Apr At a meeting convened in London by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to discuss the rising price of food throughout the world, the World Food Programme’s executive director, Josette Sheeran, likens the crisis to a “silent tsunami” in the poorest countries of the world.

► The European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in France reports that paintings found in the Bamiyan caves in Afghanistan have been proved to have been painted with drying oils centuries before the first oil paintings appeared in Europe.

23 Apr A major battle between government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam takes place in northern Sri Lanka; some 90 combatants are killed.

► The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide are increasing at an accelerating rate and that levels of methane are also beginning to rise.

24 Apr Pres. Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov of Turkmenistan restores the standard month names and day names to the calendar, abolishing the calendar that the previous president had decreed to further his cult of personality.

25 Apr The government of China expresses its new willingness to meet with envoys of the Dalai Lama for discussions on Tibet.

► The banking company Wachovia Corp. agrees to pay up to US$144 million in fines and restitution to end an investigation into relationships the bank had with telemarketers that allowed them to steal millions of dollars from account holders.

26 Apr A running gun battle between rival groups of drug traffickers takes place in Tijuana, Mexico; 13 people are killed.

27 Apr At a military parade in Kabul staged to celebrate Afghanistan’s national holiday, a coordinated attempt is made to assassinate Pres. Hamid Karzai, who escapes unharmed, though three people are killed, including a child caught in the cross fire.

► Austrian authorities divulge that a 73-year-old man in Amstetten has been discovered to have been keeping his daughter imprisoned in his basement for the past 24 years, during which time he fathered seven children with her, three of whom he forced her to keep in the basement, three of whom he adopted, and one of whom died.

28 Apr Mars, Inc., the maker of candies and other foodstuffs, announces its purchase of the Wrigley chewing gum company.

29 Apr In response to an offer by the Popular Revolutionary Army to suspend its attacks on oil and gas pipelines, the government of Mexico agrees to negotiations with the organization.

► Rockstar Games releases the fourth edition of its controversial video game series, Grand Theft Auto IV; this edition, which features a fully realized protagonist and complex plot lines, is greeted with critical acclaim.

30 Apr Turkey’s legislature approves reforms to a law regulating free speech that restrict the opportunities for prosecution, reduce penalties, and change a prohibition against insults to “Turkishness” to one against insults to the “Turkish nation.”

► Researchers report that DNA tests have confirmed that bone shards found in a forest near Yekaterinburg, Russia, in summer 2007 were those of Alexis and Maria, children of the last Romanov rulers of Russia, Nicholas and Alexandra; their fate had not been conclusively known heretofore.

May 2008

1 May Colorful Tory candidate Boris Johnson is elected mayor of London as the Labour incumbent, Ken Livingstone, is voted out.

► At the National Magazine Awards in New York City, National Geographic wins three awards, including one for general excellence; other winners include The New Yorker, GQ, Backpacker, Mother Jones, Print, and, in the online category,

2 May Cyclone Nargis makes landfall and churns up the southeast coast of Myanmar (Burma), causing enormous devastation, especially in the Irrawaddy River delta; the death toll is estimated to be at least 130,000.

► Zimbabwe’s electoral commission releases official results of the 29 March presidential election, saying challenger Morgan Tsvangirai won 47.9% of the vote, to incumbent Robert Mugabe’s 43.25%, necessitating a runoff; the Movement for Democratic Change maintains that Tsvangirai won 50.3% of the vote, an outright win.

► The Chaiten volcano in Chile’s Patagonia region begins a massive eruption, burying an area of about 155 sq km (60 sq mi) in more than 38 cm (15 in) of ash; the volcano had not erupted for some 9,000 years.

3 May Big Brown wins the Kentucky Derby, the first race of Thoroughbred horse racing’s US Triple Crown, but the event is marred when the filly Eight Belles, which finishes second, breaks both front ankles after crossing the finish line and is euthanized on the track.

4 May Residents of the Santa Cruz department of Bolivia overwhelmingly vote in a nonbinding referendum for the administrative subdivision to become autonomous.

5 May Iran suspends talks with the US on the security situation in Iraq.

► The Italian conductor Riccardo Muti, who resigned from the Teatro alla Scala in Milan in 2005, is announced as the new music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

6 May In Taiwan, in the midst of a scandal in which US$30 million of government money (intended to be given to Papua New Guinea if it switched its diplomatic relations from China to Taiwan) seems to have been stolen, Foreign Minister James Huang and Vice-Premier Chiou I-chen resign.

7 May A general strike against Lebanese government economic policies spirals into street fighting between Hezbollah supporters (who favor the strike and oppose a government move to shut down a private Hezbollah telephone network) and those who favor the government.

► Dmitry Medvedev takes office as president of Russia and names outgoing president Vladimir Putin prime minister.

8 May North Korea turns over to the US 18,000 pages of documentation on its plutonium program dating back to 1990.

► Edgar Millan Gomez, the acting chief of federal police in Mexico, is ambushed and killed by several men outside his home in Mexico City.

9 May Hezbollah fighters seize control of a large portion of western Beirut.

► As attacks against supporters of the opposition in Zimbabwe intensify, Pres. Thabo Mbeki of South Africa holds talks with Zimbabwean Pres. Robert Mugabe in Harare.

► Two shipments of food aid from the UN World Food Programme are confiscated by the Myanmar (Burma) government as it agrees to accept supplies but not personnel from outside sources, saying it will deliver the aid itself to victims of Cyclone Nargis.


10 May A referendum on a new constitution that places a great deal of power in the hands of the military is held in Myanmar (Burma); 92.48% of voters are said to have approved the document.

► Shi’ite leaders of Iraq’s legislature and representatives of Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr reach an agreement on a truce to end the bloodshed in the Sadr City neighborhood of Baghdad.

11 May In legislative elections in Serbia, the coalition For a European Serbia wins 102 of the 250 seats, followed by 78 seats for the Serbian Radical Party.

12 May A magnitude-7.9 earthquake with its epicenter in Wenchuan causes devastation in the Chinese province of Sichuan as schools collapse, factories are destroyed, and whole villages are demolished; the initial death toll is about 10,000.

► The Pakistan Muslim League-N, led by Nawaz Sharif, withdraws from the cabinet because of the insistence of its coalition partner, the Pakistan People’s Party, that judges appointed by Pres. Pervez Musharraf under emergency rule retain their seats even after the judges dismissed by Musharraf regain their seats.

13 May To the shock of environmentalists, Marina Silva resigns as Brazil’s minister of the environment, citing a lack of government support for environmental goals; she is replaced by Carlos Minc.

► Carlos Ghosn, CEO of the car manufacturer Nissan Motor Co., announces that the company intends to bringan electric car to the American market by 2010.

14 May US Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne announces that the polar bear will be listed as an endangered species because the growing melting of sea ice threatens its survival.

► The Russian association football (soccer) club FC Zenit St. Petersburg defeats FC Rangers of Glasgow, Scotland, 2-0 to win the Union des Associations Europeennes de Football (UEFA) Cup in Manchester, England.

15 May The California Supreme Court rules that state laws that limit marriage to opposite-sex couples are unconstitutional and that same-sex couples also have the right to marry.

16 May Zimbabwe’s election commission schedules a runoff election between Pres. Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai for 27 June.

► Portugal’s legislature adopts a spelling standardization agreement that will change the spelling of many words to match the Brazilian spelling.

► The government of Myanmar (Burma) raises the official death toll from Cyclone Nargis to 78,000, with a further 55,917 listed as missing.

17 May Trucks carrying men firing assault rifles roll into Villa Ahumada, Mexico; 6 people are killed, including the chief of police, and 10 others are kidnapped, prompting the entire surviving police force to flee and leaving the rest of the town terrorized.

► Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown decisively wins the Preakness Stakes, the second event in US Thoroughbred horse racing’s Triple Crown.

18 May After a week of increasing and spreading anti-immigrant violence in and around Johannesburg in which at least 12 people were killed, South African Pres. Thabo Mbeki promises a commission to study the causes of the violence.

19 May Nelly Avila Moreno (nom de guerre Karina), a top commander in FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), surrenders to the Colombian army.

20 May For the first time in 15 months, the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan engage in peace negotiations.

► A US federal court of appeals rules that the country’s paper currency must be redesigned because the various denominations cannot be distinguished by the visually impaired.

21 May Israel and Syria announce that they are undertaking negotiations toward a peace treaty; the talks are taking place in Istanbul.

► In association football (soccer), Manchester United defeats another English team, Chelsea, on penalty kicks to win the UEFA Champions League championship in Moscow.

22 May The price of oil briefly reaches a record US$135.09 a barrel before closing at US$133.17.

► An appellate court in Texas rules that the state was wrong in removing more than 450 children from the custody of their parents at the polygamist Yearning for Zion ranch in April.

23 May Twelve countries in South America sign a treaty creating Unasur, a union intended to be similar to the European Union.

24 May UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon meets Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in earthquake-ravaged Yingxiu and praises China’s response to the disaster.

► In Belgrade, Serbia, the Russian pop star Dima Bilan wins the Eurovision Song Contest with his English-language rendition of “Believe,” produced by American rap impresario Timbaland.

25 May NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander, launched on 4 Aug 2007, successfully makes a soft landing in the northern polar region of Mars, where it will analyze soil samples and search for proof of water.

► FARC confirms that its founder and chief, Manuel Marulanda, died on 26 March.

► The Sutong Bridge, between the Chinese cities of Suzhou and Nantong in Jiangsu province, opens to traffic; with a main span of 1,088 m (3,570 ft), the bridge is the world’s longest cable-stayed bridge.

► The 92nd Indianapolis 500 automobile race is won by Scott Dixon of New Zealand.

26 May The International Atomic Energy Agency releases a report saying that Iran has failed to be forthcoming about its nuclear programs and that its nuclear capabilities are advancing.

27 May In the face of a military mutiny, Pres. Lansana Conte of Guinea fires Minister of Defense Bailo Di-allo.

28 May Nepal’s newly elected constituent assembly votes to transform the country from a monarchy to a republic, giving the royal family, which ruled the country for 240 years, 15 days to vacate the palace in Kathmandu.

► In Ilulissat, Greenland, the US, Russia, Canada, Denmark, and Norway sign an agreement to abide by the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea regarding territorial claims on the Arctic and to work cooperatively to limit environmental and other risks in any increased shipping and commerce in the region.

29 May The confirmed death toll in China’s Sichuan earthquake is reported as 68,500 people, with a further 19,000 missing and presumed dead.

► Science publishes an online report describing DNA research on a swatch of Paleo-Eskimo hair from Greenland showing that the earliest known inhabitants of Greenland were not related to the later Thule people or American Indians but were related to people now living in the Komandor Islands off Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula.

► The Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize is presented in Chicago to Gary Snyder.

30 May Silverjet, a business-class-only airline based in London, ceases operations; it is the third airline of that type to shut down in six months.

31 May Zimbabwe’s army chief of staff says that it is the duty of members of the country’s armed forces to vote for Pres. Robert Mugabe in the upcoming runoff presidential election.

June 2008

1 Jun Parents in several cities in China’s Sichuan lier, crushing children, and China raises the official province protest the shoddy construction of schools toll of the quake to 69,000 dead and 18,800 miss-that collapsed in the earthquake three weeks ear- ing and presumed dead.

2 Jun Relief groups report that though the rulers of Myanmar (Burma) have increased openness somewhat, they are still severely limiting the access of foreign aid workers to the victims of Cyclone Nargis in the Irrawaddy delta.

► Georgia demands that Russia withdraw the peacekeeping forces and army troops that it sent to the separatist Abkhazia region of Georgia.

3 Jun A three-day conference on food security convened by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and attended by top officials from some 150 countries opens in Rome.

4 Jun Rose Tremain wins the Orange Broadband Prize, an award for fiction written by women and published in the UK, for her novel The Road Home.

► The Detroit Red Wings defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 to win the Stanley Cup, the National Hockey League championship trophy.

5 Jun The Constitutional Court of Turkey strikes down a new law that would allow women who cover their heads with scarves for religious reasons to attend public universities.

6 Jun In Seoul some 65,000 people demonstrate their opposition to a South Korean government plan to allow beef imports from the United States; such imports were banned in 2003.

7 Jun Ana Ivanovic of Serbia defeats Dinara Safina of Russia to win the women’s French Open tennis title; the following day Rafael Nadal of Spain defeats Roger Federer of Switzerland to capture the men’s championship for the fourth year in a row.

► The Derby, in its 229th year at Epsom Downs in Surrey, England, is won by New Approach, ridden by Kevin Manning.

► Long shot Da’ Tara, with odds of 38-1, wins the Belmont Stakes, the last event in Thoroughbred horse racing’s US Triple Crown; Big Brown, winner of the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, comes in last.

8 Jun The i-LIMB, a bionic prosthetic hand that mimics both the form and the function of the human hand, wins the MacRobert Award for engineering excellence from the Royal Academy of Engineering in London.

► Yani Tseng of Taiwan wins the Ladies Professional Golf Association championship in a sudden-death play-off over Maria Hjorth of Sweden.

9 Jun A cache of cylinder seals dating from 3000-2000 BC that were looted from the National Museum of Iraq during the 2003 US-led invasion of the country are ceremonially returned to Iraq’s Ministry of Antiquities in Baghdad; the seals were found by customs officials in Philadelphia in May 2008.

► Lake Delton, a centerpiece of the Wisconsin Dells resort area, breaches the highway after massive rainfalls and in less than two hours drains completely into the Wisconsin River.

10 Jun After a firefight against insurgents in Afghanistan just over the border from Pakistan, US forces make air and artillery strikes in Pakistan that kill 11 Pakistani paramilitary soldiers, outraging Pakistan’s government.

► Armed battles break out on the border between Djibouti and Eritrea for the first time in 10 years.

11 Jun King Gyanendra of Nepal, bowing to the desires of the country’s new government, gives up his crown and leaves the royal palace to take up life as an ordinary citizen.

► NASA launches the Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST); the space telescope, which can detect an immense range of light, will examine gamma-ray bursts and, it is hoped, give scientists new information about the nature of the universe.

► Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in a speech before the House of Commons, apologizes for the country’s policy of taking children of First Nations peoples and putting them in Christian boarding schools to assimilate them; some 100,000 children were placed in such schools beginning in the late 19th century, and abuse was rampant.

► The Belgian brewing giant InBev makes an unsolicited bid to buy American brewery Anheuser-Busch, headquartered in St. Louis MO.

12 Jun The US Supreme Court rules that in spite of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, prisoners at the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have the right to challenge their detention in federal courts.

► China and Taiwan agree to establish offices in one another’s capitals to facilitate discussions about closer relationships.

► As floodwaters roll down the Cedar River in Iowa, raising it 5 m (17 ft) above flood stage, torrential rains pound the area, and much of the town of Cedar Rapids is washed away.

13 Jun Thousands of people converge in Islamabad, Pakistan, to demand the reinstatement of judges dismissed in November 2007 by Pres. Pervez Musharraf.

14 Jun Pres. Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe declares that he has no intention of ceding power, even if he should lose the runoff presidential election scheduled for 27 June.

15 Jun Kosovo’s constitution officially goes into effect.

► The 62nd annual Tony Awards are presented in New York City; winners include the productions August: Osage County, In the Heights, Boeing-Boeing, and South Pacific and the actors Mark Rylance, Deanna Dunagan, Paulo Szot, and Patti LuPone.

► In the 76th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Audi team led by Tom Kristensen of Denmark takes the victory; it is Kristensen’s record eighth victory in the classic endurance automobile race.

16 Jun When police attempt to break up a blockade of Peru’s main road to Chile and to a major copper mine and smelter near Moquegua, Peru, protesters overcome them and force them to retreat; the demonstrators want more of the taxes paid by the copper company to be used in the region.

► Tiger Woods defeats Rocco Mediate in a thrilling sudden-death play-off to win the US Open golf tournament in San Diego CA.

► A ceremony is held in Takanezawa, Japan, as the first Honda FCX Clarity rolls off the assembly line; it is the first hydrogen-powered fuel-cell car capable of being mass-produced.

17 Jun Pres. Felipe Calderon of Mexico signs into law a constitutional amendment requiring that trials be openly argued before a judge with a presumption of innocence; the enormous changes entailed must be completed by 2016.

► The Boston Celtics defeat the Los Angeles Lakers 131-92 in game six of the best-of-seven tournament to secure the team’s 17th National Basketball Association championship.

18 Jun Israel proposes holding peace talks with Lebanon, indicating that it is even willing to discuss the disposition of the disputed Shebaa Farms area on the border between the countries.

► China and Japan both announce that the countries have reached an agreement to jointly develop gas fields in the East China Sea that lie in territory that both countries claim.

19 Jun A truce negotiated between Israel and the militant group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, officially goes into effect.

20 Jun China unveils a plan to halve the number of cars on the road in and around Beijing from 20 July to 20 September and to prevent high-emission vehicles, such as trucks, from entering the city during the same period; the intent is to reduce both traffic and air pollution during the Olympics.

► The 2008 winners of the Kyoto Prize are announced: Richard M. Karp (advanced technology), Anthony J. Pawson (basic sciences), and Charles M. Taylor (arts and philosophy).

21 Jun Typhoon Fengshen roars through the Philippines, leaving at least 498 people dead, and the MV Princess of the Stars, a large ferry, capsizes and sinks in the storm off the Philippine island of Sibuyan; some 800 people are feared lost.

22 Jun Morgan Tsvangirai withdraws his candidacy in the presidential runoff election in Zimbabwe, citing the violence of the campaign being waged against his followers.


23 Jun Fighting in Tripoli, Lebanon, between supporters of the government and partisans of Hezbollah continues for a second day; at least eight people have been killed.

24 Jun The United States Sugar Corp. reaches a tentative deal to sell 800 sq km (300 sq mi) of land in the Florida Everglades to the state of Florida; after six more years of sugarcane production, the land will be returned to its natural wetland condition.

► The retail giant Home Depot announces that all of its stores will accept old compact fluorescent light bulbs for recycling; because the bulbs contain mercury, they cannot be disposed of conventionally.

25 Jun The US Supreme Court rules that the punitive damages awarded in a lawsuit related to the 1989

Exxon Valdez oil disaster must be reduced to US$500 million, the amount that ExxonMobil has already paid out; in another ruling, the court bans the sentence of execution for the crime of child rape.

26 Jun In a landmark ruling, the US Supreme Court holds that the Second Amendment to the Constitution confers an individual rather than a collective right to gun ownership and that state and city governments may not forbid the owning of handguns.

► Girija Prasad Koirala resigns as prime minister of Nepal and asks the Maoist party to form a government.

► At its meeting in Paris, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers issues new guidelines allowing users to apply to use any domain name of their devising and permitting domain names to be registered in scripts other than the Roman alphabet.

► US Pres. George W. Bush announces that North Korea has been removed from the government’s list of state sponsors of terrorism.

► The price of a barrel of light sweet crude oil briefly reaches a new record of US$140.39 a barrel before closing at a record US$139.64.

27 Jun In a runoff election in which he is unopposed, Pres. Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe officially garners 85% of the vote; turnout is cited as 42.4%.

► North Korea publicly demolishes the cooling tower of its Yongbyon nuclear weapons plant.

28 Jun Pakistani security forces shell Taliban positions outside Peshawar, which has been increasingly threatened by the Taliban; it is the first military action taken against militants by the Pakistani government that took office in March.

29 Jun Israel agrees to trade the notorious Lebanese terrorist Samir Kuntar and four other Lebanese prisoners to the Lebanese militia Hezbollah in return for the bodies of the Israeli soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, whose 12 Jul 2006 kidnapping led to Israel’s war with Hezbollah that year.

► Spain defeats Germany 1-0 in the final match to win Euro 2008; it is Spain’s first major association football (soccer) title since it won the European championship in 1964.

30 Jun Officials in Lithuania report that over the weekend some 300 Web sites were defaced with Soviet symbols and anti-Lithuanian slogans by hackers; two weeks earlier Lithuania had banned the display of Soviet symbols.

► Iraq announces plans to open bidding on six major oil fields to 35 foreign companies.

Next post:

Previous post: